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Top 10 August bank holiday boating breaks

Top 10 short break canal boat holidays

Canals and rivers take narrowboat holiday-makers through some of Britain’s best-loved countryside, and into the heart of some our most famous waterside towns and cities.

Canal boat holidays are great for families, bringing everyone together for an adventure afloat.  From steering the boat and working the locks, to planning the route and watching out for wildlife, there’s plenty to get involved in.

Pets are welcome aboard all our boats, so all the family can enjoy a relaxing staycation together.  And there’s everything you need on board for a self-catering holiday afloat if you want to keep your costs down.

There are hundreds of waterside destinations in England and Wales to choose from.  To celebrate the upcoming August bank holiday, we’ve put together a guide to our top 10 weekend boating breaks.

1. Travel along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Birmingham

With more canals than Venice, exploring Birmingham by boat is one of the best ways to experience Britain’s exciting second city.  From our canal boat rental base at Tardebigge, you can cruise into the centre of Birmingham in just five hours.  Your journey will begin in the Worcestershire countryside, passing through the remains of the Forest of Arden and a series of tunnels.  The route becomes increasingly urban and once in the centre of the city, you can moor up in Gas Street Basin. From there you can walk to visit some of the city’s top attractions, including Birmingham’s Science Museum Thinktank and the Sea Life Centre.

2. Cruise along the Llangollen Canal to Ellesmere

On a weekend away from Trevor in North Wales, you can cruise to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District.  The journey takes you across the UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, 39 metres high above the Dee valley. At Ellesmere, you can moor up to explore this historic market town and its ancient mere, with woodland walks and places to eat.  The journey to Ellesmere takes around seven hours, crosses two aqueducts, and passes through two locks and two tunnels.

3. Navigate the Stratford Canal to Stratford-upon-Avon

From Wootton Wawen it takes around six hours to cruise along the Stratford Canal to Shakespeare’s Stratford.  The route takes you through the Warwickshire countryside to reach overnight moorings in Bancroft Basin in the heart of Stratford upon Avon.  Once there, you can walk to top attractions, including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Shakespeare’s Birthplace.  There are 17 locks to pass through along the way, and you’ll cross the impressive Edstone Aqueduct, the longest aqueduct in England.

4. Take a Thames boating holiday to Oxford

From our Oxford base on the River Thames at Eynsham, it takes just over three hours to reach Oxford City centre.  There are just four locks to pass through along the way and some are manned, offering help to newcomers.  Along the way, you’ll pass through Wolvercote, home of the popular riverside Trout Inn.  Once in Oxford, you take time to explore the city, including the Bodleian Library, Carfax Tower and Oxford Castle.

5. Travel along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley

From Great Haywood, you can head south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction.  The journey takes around five hours, travelling 12 miles through the Staffordshire countryside.  There are just five locks to pass through, and you’ll pass canalside pubs at Wolseley and Rugeley.  At Fradley, you can enjoy refreshments at the Canalside Café or The Swan Inn. And you can take a wildlife-spotting walk along the woodland trail and boardwalk at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve.

6. Cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal to Chester

On a weekend away, from Bunbury you can navigate to the ancient city of Chester.  Cruising along the Shropshire Union Canal, the route passes through beautiful Cheshire countryside and a series of canalside villages.  There are historic local pubs along the way, including The Ring O’Bells at Christleton and The Shady Oak at Bates Mill Bridge.  Once in Chester, you can to explore some of the City’s attractions, including the Roman Amphitheatre, city walls and Chester Rows shops. The journey to Chester takes around seven hours and passes through nine locks.

7. Float along the Kennet & Avon Canal to Bradford on Avon

From our base at Sydney Wharf near Bath, it takes just four hours to reach the lovely market town of Bradford on Avon. There’s just one lock to pass through and stunning Bath stone aqueducts to glide across at Dundas and Avoncliff.  You’ll pass a series of canalside pubs along the way, including The George at Bathampton and Cross Guns at Avoncliff.  Once in Bradford on Avon, you can moor up to visit Historic England’s medieval Tithe Barn.  And there’s a great choice of places to eat, including the riverside Timbrell’s Yard.

8. Boat along the Grand Union Canal to Warwick Castle

From Stockton, you can cruise to Warwick and visit its magnificent castle, said to be Britain’s greatest medieval experience.  The route takes you along the Grand Union Canal via Long Itchington and Royal Leamington Spa.  There are visitor moorings along the Saltisford Arm, close to the Castle, where this summer War of the Roses Live jousting displays are taking place.  The journey to Warwick takes eight hours and passes through 22 locks.

9. Cruise along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Gargrave

From Silsden, you can cruise through the Yorkshire countryside to Gargrave on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The route travels 12 miles and passes through Skipton, home to the medieval Skipton Castle and Woods.  At Gargrave, there are plenty of pubs to enjoy, including The Mason’s Arms and Cross Keys Inn.  The route to Gargrave passes through three locks, and takes around 6½ hours.

10. Glide along the Llangollen Canal to Chirk

On a weekend break from Whixall Marina in Shropshire, you can cruise through the countryside to Chirk, on the border between England and Wales.  The journey takes around eight hours and passes through just two locks.  Along the way, you’ll pass Whixall Moss nature reserve and the historic market town of Ellesmere. At Chirk, there’s a choice of canalside pubs and the National Trust’s medieval Chirk Castle to visit.

 

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Our new two-night deals offer the chance for a quick escape!

Canal boat holidays in England and Wales

For the first time ever, we are offering two-night breaks from our canal boat hire bases at:

  • Trevor in North Wales;
  • Bunbury and Whixall in Shropshire;
  • Tardebigge in Worcestershire;
  • Wootton Wawen in Warwickshire;
  • Great Haywood in Staffordshire; and
  • Oxford on the River Thames.

So whether you are time-short and just looking for 48 hours away, or a newcomer to canal boat holidays wanting to test the waters, our new two-night deals are a great way to get afloat.

Starting at £643 for a boat for up to four people, these special deals need to booked and taken by 14 September 2023.

You’ll be able to pick your boat up from 2.30pm on the Friday afternoon, and return it by 2.30pm on the Sunday.

Prices for our two-night specials

Price band A B C D E F G H
23 Jun – 6 Jul £593 £643 £673 £807 £883 £917 £990 £1,097
7 Jul – 24 Aug £707 £760 £810 £957 £1,057 £1,153 £1,297 £1,433
25 Aug – 14 Sep £593 £643 £673 £807 £883 £917 £990 £1,097

**Please note, prices quoted do not include the damage waiver of £50, and fuel deposit of £70 for a short break.

To book one of these special deals

Call the Booking Team on 0117 304 1122 or email us on bookings@anglowelsh.co.uk

Top 9 two-night break destinations

1. Navigate through the Cheshire countryside to ancient Middlewich

From Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal, it’s a peaceful five-and-a-half-hour cruise through the Cheshire countryside to Middlewich.  After travelling south two miles to Barbridge Junction, home of the Olde Barbridge Inn, you can transfer onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.  This quiet canal, with just four locks along its 10-mile length, travels peacefully through the Cheshire countryside.  You can stop off along the way at Church Minshull, where the popular Badger Inn is a short walk from the canal.  And there’s a choice places eat and drink in Middlewich, which dates back to into pre-history and the first hunter gatherers.

2. Head into Birmingham City Centre lock-free

With no locks between Tardebigge and Birmingham City Centre, this five-and-a half-hour cruise is perfect for a two-night break.  You’ll cruise for 14 miles along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.  The first half of the journey passes through fields, woods and villages, before gradually becoming more urbanised.  There are four tunnels to navigate through, including the 2,726-yard long Wast Hill Tunnel. Once you reach the centre of Birmingham, there are over-night moorings at Gas Street Basin, with easy access to Brindleyplace waterside restaurants, Sea Life Centre, Mailbox shopping centre and other leading attractions.

3. Cruise across the Stream in the Sky to historic Ellesmere

The seven-hour journey along the Llangollen Canal from Trevor to Ellesmere, in the heart of the Shropshire Lake District, offers a fantastic two-night route.  The route includes the experience of travelling across the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Dee Valley 38 metres below.  There are two locks, two tunnels and two aqueducts along the way.

4. Boat through the Staffordshire countryside to Fradley Pool Nature Reserve

From Great Haywood, you can head south along the Trent & Mersey Canal to Fradley Junction.  The journey takes around five hours, travelling 12 peaceful miles through the Staffordshire countryside.  There are just five locks to pass through, and you’ll pass canalside pubs at Wolseley and Rugeley.  At Fradley, you can enjoy spotting wildlife along the woodland trail and boardwalk at Fradley Pool Nature Reserve. And the Canalside Café and Swan Inn offer waterside refreshments.

5. Navigate through Shakespeare country to Stratford-upon-Avon

From Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal, it takes around six hours to reach overnight moorings in Bancroft Basin in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.  The route through the Warwickshire countryside takes you across the Edstone Aqueduct and through 17 locks. Once there, you can walk to all the top attractions in Stratford, from theatres and museums, to pubs and restaurants.

6. Navigate the Llangollen Canal to historic Whitchurch

From Whixall, it takes around three-and-a-half hours to cruise to visitor moorings on the Whitchurch Arm, perfect for a relaxing two-night break.  The route to Whitchurch travels along the Llangollen Canal through six peaceful miles of Shropshire countryside.  There are no locks but there are two lift bridges.  Once moored up, you can walk into Whitchurch to explore the town with its half-timbered buildings, independent shops, way-marked circular walks and Brown Moss nature reserve.  There’s a good choice of places to eat and drink, including the popular Black Bear pub.

7. Take a Thames boating holiday to Oxford

From our Oxford base at Eynsham, it takes just over three hours, passing through four locks, to reach City centre moorings in Oxford.  Along the way, you’ll pass through the ancient village of Wolvercote, home to the ruins of Godstow Priory. The 17th century riverside Trout Inn, famous for being a regular watering-hole for Collin Dexter’s Inspector Morse and Lewis Carroll, is also at Wolvercote.  Once in Oxford, you take time to explore the city, including Oxford Castle, the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum.

8. Cruise through the countryside to visit Packwood House

On a two-night break from Tardebigge, you can cruise lock-free to the village of Lapworth, home of the National Trust’s Packwood House.  The journey takes you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, through the remains of the Forest of Arden, to Kings Norton Junction.  You then transfer onto the Stratford Canal to reach moorings in Lapworth. From there, it’s a short walk to the Tudor Packwood House, with 150 acres of parkland and gardens to explore, including the famous Yew Garden.  The journey to Lapworth takes around seven hours and passes through three tunnels.

9. Travel through the Shropshire Lake District to Ellesmere

From Whixall, on a two-night break you can cruise to historic town of Ellesmere and back.  The lock-free journey travels seven miles of the Llangollen Canal and takes around three-and-a-half hours.  You’ll pass a series of meres and mosses, including Whixall Moss nature reserve, Lyneal Moss and Cole Mere.  Once at Ellesmere, you can take time to explore the Mere with its Victorian gardens, woodland paths, sculpture trail and historic castle, as well as places to eat, drink and picnic.

To book one of these special deals

Call the Booking Team on 0117 304 1122 or email us on bookings@anglowelsh.co.uk

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Best boating holidays for beginners in the West Midlands

Birmingham famously has more canals than Venice, so a canal boat holiday is a great way to explore the West Midlands area.

Our canal boat hire bases at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal near Bromsgrove, and Wootton Wawen on the Stratford Canal near Henley-in-Arden, offer a great choice of routes for beginners.

Whether you want to experience a rural retreat afloat, or cruise into the heart of Birmingham, there are dozens of destinations to choose from.

You don’t need a licence to steer a canal boat and tuition is included in our holiday hire.

To celebrate the hundreds of miles of waterways and exciting waterside destinations available in the Birmingham area, we’ve published a guide to our top five short breaks for beginners:

1. Navigate to the Black Country Living Museum, home of the Peaky Blinders

From our narrowboat hire base at Tardebigge, it’s an eight-and-a-half hour, three-lock journey to the Black Country Living Museum.  Scenes for all six series of the BBC’s epic gangster drama Peaky Blinders were filmed at the 26-acre Museum.  As well as walking in the footsteps of the Shelbys, you can explore period shops and homes and have a drink in the ‘Bottle & Glass Inn’. You can also sample the Museum’s famous traditionally cooked 1930’s-style fish and chips and take a trip ‘into the thick’ to experience life in an 1850’s coal mine.

2. Moor up to see a play in Shakespeare’s Stratford

From our canal boat rental base at Wootton Wawen, you can reach Stratford upon Avon on a weekend or mid-week break.  There are moorings in the centre of town in Bancroft Basin, next to Bancroft Gardens and the Royal Shakespeare Company. This year’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions include As You Like It and Macbeth.  Bancroft Basin is just a short walk from Stratford’s excellent choice of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, including Carluccios. From Wootton Wawen, it takes around six hours, to reach Shakespeare’s Stratford, passing through 17 locks.

3. Cruise through the countryside to Packwood House

On a short break from Tardebigge, you can cruise to the village of Lapworth, home of the National Trust’s Tudor Manor house, Packwood House.  The journey takes you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, through the Worcestershire countryside and the remains of the Forest of Arden, to Kings Norton Junction.  Next, the route transfers onto the Stratford Canal to reach moorings in Lapworth. From there, it’s a short walk to the 16th century Packwood House, with 150 acres of parkland to explore and stunning gardens, including the famous Yew Garden.  The journey to Lapworth takes around seven hours and passes through two tunnels. There are no locks on this route.

4. Moor up in the heart of Birmingham and visit the National SEA LIFE Centre

Departing from Tardebigge, it’s a five-hour, lock-free journey to moorings at Gas Street Basin in Birmingham City Centre. Here you are close to Brindleyplace and its National SEA LIFE Centre.  The Centre is home to the UK’s only 360o Ocean Tunnel where you can marvel at sharks, a giant turtle, rays and hundreds of tropical fish. You can also see a group of Gentoo penguins, a pair of sea otters and a fascinating variety of jellyfish.

5. Cruise to the base of the magnificent Hatton Locks

On a short break from Wootton Wawen, you can cruise north along the Stratford Canal, transferring onto the Grand Union Canal to reach the bottom of the flight of 21 locks at Hatton.  This lock impressive lock flight is nick-named the ‘Stairway to Heaven’. This is because of the hard work involved in the ascent, followed by an easy run to Camp Hill where the working boat men and women were once paid.  Today the journey to Hatton takes you through the Warwickshire countryside and past a series of villages with country pubs. These include: the canalside Fleur de Lys at Lowsonford; and the Navigation Inn at Rowington.  From Wootton Wawen, it takes around eight hours to reach the base of the Hatton flight, passing through 17 locks along the way.

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Be Inspired

We offer a range of different types of holidays such as City Breaks, Relaxation Cruises and Popular Destinations

So why choose Anglo Welsh?

Over 55 years providing unique canal boat holidays in England and Wales.
Modern and spacious narrowboat and wide beam barge hire – from 2 to 12 berths.
Wide choice of narrowboat hire locations and canal boat holiday destinations.
Canal boat holiday routes for novices & experienced boaters.
Flexible holiday booking, no hidden costs.
Family friendly and pet friendly holidays.
Great days out on the water.
Luxury canal boat hire and Thames boating holidays.

Anglo Welsh. So much more than narrowboats

...but don't just take our word for it

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